- The Washington Times - Monday, May 18, 2009


Netanyahu focus to be on Iran

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu plans to focus his first White House talks with President Obama on ways to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear arms, a Netanyahu adviser said Sunday.

At odds with Mr. Obama over Palestinian statehood, an objective of Middle East peacemaking that the United States has championed and Mr. Netanyahu has balked at endorsing, the Israeli leader began his first visit to Washington since taking office two months ago.

On the eve of Mr. Netanyahu’s meeting Monday with Mr. Obama, the prime minister’s national security adviser, Uzi Arad, said, “As things are planned, Mr. Netanyahu will focus on the subject of a nuclear Iran.”

In a Newsweek magazine interview, Mr. Obama, who has been seeking to engage Iran on a series of issues from its nuclear program to Afghanistan, said he hoped to convince Mr. Netanyahu that the U.S. approach was best.


Darfur rebel surrenders to court

THE HAGUE | A Darfur rebel accused of leading a deadly attack against peacekeepers in the conflict-torn region surrendered Sunday to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to face war crimes charges, the court said.

Bahr Idriss Abu Garda, who led a splinter faction of the anti-government Justice and Equality Movement, will be the first to appear before the ICC over a long-running probe into the Darfur conflict, the court prosecutor said.

The court has issued three arrest warrants in connection with the Darfur investigation, including one for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who has refused to cooperate.

The attack against the peacekeepers at Haskanita in northern Darfur in September 2007 killed 12 African Union soldiers and seriously wounded eight, a court statement said.


Corruption probe hits trade minister

BAGHDAD | Lawmakers grilled the Iraqi trade minister Sunday over allegations of corruption, ending two days of questioning that marked the first time that a Cabinet member had been summoned on charges of such official wrongdoing.

Trade Minister Abdul Falah al-Sudany defended his ministry and his relatives, who were among nine officials recently charged with corruption related to Iraq’s massive food-import program, in a heated, lengthy session of parliament.

One of Mr. al-Sudany’s brothers has been arrested, but most of the other accused officials have not been seen since they fled when officials tried to serve warrants last month. Mr. al-Sudany has not been charged.


Suu Kyi ready to defend herself

YANGON | Myanmar’s pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi is in good health and ready to defend herself against new charges that have sparked international outrage against the country’s military rulers, her lawyer said.

Activists planned protests at Myanmar embassies around the world on Monday, when the Nobel Peace laureate faces a court, accused of breaking the conditions of her house arrest set to expire on May 27 after six years of detention.

The American who triggered the case against Mrs. Suu Kyi and her two female companions by sneaking into her lakeside villa in Yangon is also expected to stand trial on several charges.

Mrs. Suu Kyi’s lawyer, Kyi Win, was allowed to meet her for one hour on Saturday at a guesthouse inside Insein Central Prison, where she was taken Thursday.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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